Home Pastors Articles for Pastors Your Captivating Call to Eternal Glory

Your Captivating Call to Eternal Glory

eternal glory

How would you finish this sentence? “I am called to _____________.” Think deeply about your answer (or multiple answers).

I suppose some would instinctively respond, “I am called to be a pastor” or “I am called to be a missionary.” Others might say, “I am called to demonstrate my faith in business,” “I am called to serve as an elder at my church,” or “I am called to be a faithful spouse, or mother, or father.” Perhaps you sense a calling to the arts, sports, or engineering. It seems the possibilities of Christian living and serving are limitless.

Enlightened Eyes to See a Compelling Call to Eternal Glory

Paul prayed, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:17–18).

Without sounding too mystical, I must testify that Paul’s prayer is being answered in my life, giving me a vigorous passion to enjoy Christ, experience the gospel, and share these treasures with you. The “Father of glory” has allowed the eyes of my heart to be enlightened by the indwelling Spirit of wisdom with a fresh revelation of Christ to embrace, and be embraced by. It is the clearest sense of calling I have ever apprehended after decades of pastoral ministry. I’ve been gripped by the hope to which I have been called.

Called to Eternal Glory

Many years ago, I was asked to serve as the “National Spokesman” for the association to which our congregation belonged. For twelve months my elders graciously allowed me to devote about a quarter of my time to serving the churches and pastors in our tribe all across the nation. One of my projects included monthly audio interviews with notable Christian leaders. We would then distribute this resource to some 1,300 church leaders. One question I would always ask in each interview pertained to a specific book that had recently been of help to them. Their answers were always insightful.

I remember John Piper’s response was a bit outside the box. He explained that he did not really have a book in mind, but rather a paragraph from a book and, specifically, a particular sentence. From this I was reminded that even one line of truth, clearly understood and practically applied, can be powerful and palpable.

How would I finish that sentence, “I am called to ______” ?  My line springs from a verse:

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5:10)

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5:10)

Here is the line: “…the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ.” For over a year, I have been unable to shake this thought. I am called to His eternal glory in Christ.

What could this mean in our daily lives? How does it change the way we speak, serve, see, or suffer? Yes, it is good to be called as an elder, missionary, mother, industry leader, or pastor. But, could there be something more? Something beyond? Something truly more glorious?

Paul Tripp wrote, “Life really is all about what glory attracts your eyes and captures your heart. This is true because, as human beings, we’re all glory junkies. We all live for glory in some way.”[i] While I still struggle daily with “self-glory” I feel like I’ve been wearing a new set of glasses in reading the New Testament. Suddenly I see nuances of this calling to “his eternal glory in Christ” in virtually every book, appearing page after page. I am discovering a deeper hope, a richer worship, a greater delight in prayer, a new power for purity, and a compelling vision of the scoreboard of life that really matters.

Ministry OSHA

I’ve had the unique experience of twice being called to a large church as the “next man in” after a high-profile and devastating moral failure. There was no seminary class named “Clean-Up Guy 755.” This was a “school of hard knocks” journey with unique challenges. The lessons about pastoral integrity and endurance have never left me.

Whenever there is an “incident” at the workplace, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that employers conduct an investigation using a four-step system.[ii] Their process involves: 1) Preserve and document the incident scene; 2) Collect information by interviewing witnesses and completing an investigation form; 3) Determine root causes by asking a series of “Why?” questions; and 4) Implement corrective actions as you share your findings.

You could say I’ve been fully immersed over the years in ecclesiastical post-incident OSHA inquiries. It is my hope that my documentations, discoveries of root causes, and helpful findings will inspire you toward a glorious finish as you avoid the pitfalls of failure.

I’ve discovered four stages that lead to either a glorious finish or dishonorable discharge. They are:

  • Reasons – (The “Why”) – The motivations that drive our life and service
  • Rhythms – (The “What”) – Spiritual pursuits that keep us rooted in eternal reality
  • Results – (The “How”) – Choices we make about our engagement in daily ministry
  • Rewards – (The “Where”) – The destinations established by our choices

Each of these stages involve some key choices that shape ministry, either from good motives to a great outcome or along the path of brokenhearted failure.

Good Ministry, Great Eternal Glory

God calls and guides us to a disciplined path that leads us to good ministry and eventually great glory to Jesus Christ. At the same time, we are warned of the choices that lead to eternal irrelevance and ministry death.

God calls and guides us to a disciplined path that leads us to good ministry and eventually great glory to Jesus Christ. At the same time, we are warned of the choices that lead to eternal irrelevance and ministry death.

In his pioneering research, Dr. J. Robert Clinton discovered six common traits of those who stumble toward the finish line. First, they lose their learning posture. Second, the attractiveness of their character wanes. Third, they stop living by their conviction. Fourth, they fail to leave behind ultimate contributions. Fifth, they stop walking in an awareness of their influence and destiny. Finally, they lose their once vibrant relationship with God.[iii]

So, as fellow servants of Jesus, aspiring to a glorious finish, we must eagerly learn, reinforce character, develop deeper conviction, embrace our eternally significant contributions, and aspire toward heavenly rewards. All of this springs from the vibrancy of our walk with Christ.

The call to serve our Lord is not easy, but it is always worth it when our eyes are fixed and hearts are set on the heavenly scoreboard. These are urgent days that call us to a renewed passion for gospel ministry. To that end we must redefine our measures of success and reshape the little and large decisions of daily life with our eyes on the eternal prize. “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36).

The call to serve our Lord is not easy, but it is always worth it when our eyes are fixed and hearts are set on the heavenly scoreboard.

[i] Paul Tripp, New Morning Mercies (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2014), May 31 entry.

[ii] https://www.industrysafe.com/blog/incident-investigations

[iii] J.R. Clinton, Leadership in the Nineties: Six Factors to Consider (Altadena, CA: Barnabas Press, 1992), 7.

This article about eternal glory originally appeared here.

Previous article5 Overlooked Cultural Sins Threatening the Church
Next articleCongregations Don’t Want a Hero, They Want a Pastor
As a lead pastor for nearly three decades, Daniel Henderson helped several congregations experience transformation and renewal through an extraordinary commitment to prayer. Daniel now serves as founder and president of Strategic Renewal and is the national director for The 6.4 Fellowship. As a “pastor to pastors,“ he leads renewal experiences in local churches, speaks in a variety of leadership conferences, and coaches pastors across North America and beyond. Daniel is the author of over a dozen books, including, Old Paths, New Power: Awakening Your Church Through Prayer and the Ministry of The Word, Transforming Prayer: How Everything Changes When You Seek God’s Face, Transforming Presence: How The Holy Spirit Changes Everything - From The Inside Out, and Glorious Finish: Keeping Your Eye on the Prize of Eternity in a Time of Pastoral Failings.